My falling-out with Myers-Briggs

We have an identity crisis. Call it what you will, a post-modern, existential, millennial crisis of self, we are all asking ourselves: Which Game of Thrones character am I?

Ok, in all seriousness. The rash of Buzzfeed, Playbuzz, Quizmodo, etc “Personality Quizzes” that promise to tell you who you really are, in terms of your favorite fictional paradigm, is really just the latest symptom of our human desire to know ourselves, to approve of ourselves. “Ugh, I got Pansy Parkinson? Are you serious? I wanted to be Bellatrix Lestrange!”

For those seeking to understand themselves in less frivolous terms, we might seek to discover if we’re Type A or Type B, or which of the four humors we are, or, in terms of the perennial, inescapable, enduring favorite: What’s my Myers-Briggs type?


I’ve long been a fan of the Myers-Briggs. It’s helped me understand certain aspects of my personality (like, why I’m contemplating the archaeological record that will be left by our apartment building while everyone else is talking about what to get for dinner) and also how to better know and love the people around me. For instance, why my dad and I connect over history and science fiction, or whyΒ it’s OK for me to want to stay home and read when everybody else goes to a football game.

According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an INTP. There’s parts of that that delight me. I’m the eccentric absent-minded professor? Awesome! But recently I’ve come to a point where I want to say, Enough. Myers-Briggs and I need to take some time apart.

Myers-Briggs is like pointing to a blue-and-green striped shirt and saying “That shirt is blue.”

Ok, yes, there is a lot of blue on it, but there’s also the same amount of green. And, it’s not a solid color shirt – it’s a pattern. Describing the shirt as “blue,” while not entirely incorrect, gives you the wrong picture of the shirt. You hear “blue shirt” and you think of a shirt that is blue, not blue-and-green striped. You could also describe a blue shirt with white flowers as blue. So now you have two blue shirts – that are fundamentally different! And what if the blue shirt with white flowers is a sleeveless chambray blouse and the striped shirt is a longsleeved knit?

Excuse me, I think maybe I need to go to TJ Maxx…

Let me explain to you why being called “blue” when you are in fact, blue-and-green striped, can be a harmful thing. For one, others start to believe you’re blue. “Oh, you know Corinne, she’s blue, so, we should ask her to do this blue thing. She wouldn’t want to do the green thing.” Also,Β you start to believe you’re blue. “Yeah, I’m a blue person…green? That’s weird. Why is that green? I’mΒ blue. That doesn’t fit, that’s not me.”

Why did I solidly know myself as deeply passionate, adventurous, sensitive, artistic, and empathetic before I learned that I was really an INTP? Why was I wild and emotional for the 18 years before I heard of Myers-Briggs, but now that I’m an INTP I’m Spock, or Data?

Ok, so my identity problems are not Myers-Briggs’ fault. But Myers-Briggs has been my enabler, has been a neat little box that I, so staunchly anti-box, have allowed myself to live in, have slowly shrunk to fit in.

For the time being, I’m saying Bye-Bye, Myers-Briggs. I want to know myself on my own terms, not on someone else’s. I’m on a journey to feel like myself, and you are a big damn suitcase that I am not going to carry around.


132 thoughts on “My falling-out with Myers-Briggs

  1. I love this. A well-written account of what I’m sure many can relate to! I’ve found myself in this same trap before, clinging so tightly to those four little letters that I forgot I’m a person and not a description on a piece of paper. I actually got depressed because the “famous” people in my particular category weren’t really people I particularly liked or felt in any way similar! How silly. I can’t lie, I still take the occasional Buzzfeed quiz now and again, but I, like you, have taken a break from boxing myself into Myers-Briggsville for now. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to reading you in the future.

  2. Yeah I have to agree with you myself…. But I got to admit I like knowing I’m a INFJ because I relate to it and you really cant beat something you relate to

  3. I am a ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs tests. In simple English I am a stubborn know it all! No matter how you label me, I’ll argue with a fence post if it could put up a decent argument!

    Who originally got us thinking inside of boxes anyway? I do my best thinking up in a tree! Unfortunately, can’t climb trees anymore because my multiple sclerosis has me confined to a wheelchair now. But am still an ISTJ!
    Jeanette Hall

  4. This is something more people should read and know. Personality test is used to understand who we are, not dictate who we are, especially when we are a dynamic human being that can change though time. By following what this ‘test’ dictates we are curbing our potential by not letting us change in fear of being inconsistent with the result of our ‘test’, which for me is no way to achieve a fullfiled life.

    Thanks! I had a good read from this πŸ™‚

    (Another thing that irks me is that people still believe in totally unscientific tests. Like, astrology and bloodline, seriously??)

  5. It would be great if there was time set aside in high school to learn about ourselves. Im an INTP too but I am much more robust than the label describes. Apparently we’re not supposed to be artists either but I enjoy getting lost in my thoughts while I create.

  6. well written. i’ve always rejected the meyers briggs concept for very similar reasons. humans can’t help but attempt to create order out of chaos, but that often is not a good thing, in a world rooted in chaos. better to embrace the wild, i say!

  7. You’ve put it so well. There was a phase during which I took every one of those tests, Myers-Briggs included, and was left with this feeling that something was not adding up. I once took a test that told me I was in fact a “Scanner”. Scanners are those people who have a strong sense of curiosity. They get bored easily and can’t stick to one profession and spend their entire lives moving from one job to the next. At the time, it made sense because that’s exactly what I was doing. However, once I put this label aside and moved on I found out that the only reason I did that was because I hadn’t found what I truly loved doing. Once I found that, there was nothing of the “Scanner” in me. Had I stuck to the label, I would still be moving from job to job, believing that’s who I really was. There’s so much complexity in each of us, so many nuances and shades that it is impossible for a quiz to adequately give us a label.

  8. I hear you dearest! I’m sooooo glad I’m an INFP I’ve resolved a lot of issues but then again what next, I feel like I should look for MBTI part two to continue my life :-[

  9. Great points. When I took the Meyers-Briggs test, I took it with a friend. We were both identified as having the same personality, which is not at all true – or at least mainly not true insofar as personality is a manifest quality of character and not a purely internal phenomenon. Even if we think the same way, we act differently. We’re both very different blue shirts, as you put it.
    So what is the test really describing in its questionable accuracy? And what does it tell us beyond offering simple distinctions like “you are a sympathetic person” and “you are an unsympathetic person”?

    I enjoy the personality test as an idea because it’s like a game or a horoscope, but letting go of your four letter “identity” seems like a great way to start looking at the substance of who you are as opposed to the categoricals that really only approximate your active sense of values. Right?

  10. You are so right that we shouldn’t let personality tests define us. I’ve gotten the same personality type (ISFJ) on Myers-Briggs for years and years–however, I have grown in my ability to address my troublespots and to understand how I need to interact with others who think differently than I do. If we use the letters as an excuse to never change, we set ourselves up for a lifetime of fatalistic tendencies. But if we view the letters as motivation for balancing ourselves and seeking ways to interact more effectively with others, the information about our personalities can be very valuable. It’s all in how you use it.

  11. I’m not sure what myers-briggs is but i did read a very good personality book once which first showed your personality according to scales of types. It then described how to understand the scales as fluid and thus allow yourself a flexible personality not boxed in.

  12. I personally have come to loathe the test. It’s easy to game the test and get the label you want most after you’ve taken it a time or two—and who hasn’t, at this point. But, vitally, personality is not some fixed and fated thing, it is fluid and evolving. We are not the children we were in grade school and we are not our crisis fixated midlife selves. Those points and others were us, but are now merely chronographic snapshots of data that has expanded out.

  13. If people are interested in these kinds of personality tests and characterizations, then fair enough, go nuts and have fun. What I don’t like is when these things affect the real world and things that actually matter.

    I once had a job interview in which I was asked for my Myers-Briggs type. I now count myself lucky that I could honestly answer “I don’t know” (and I still don’t), because the interviewer spent about half the interview going on about the different Myers-Briggs types, and I have a feeling that had I given them a type and it was the “wrong” one, it may have affected my chances of getting the job.

    A personality quiz that is a few steps above “Which Disney princess are you?” should not remotely affect my ability to find gainful employment or do a job that I am qualified for. I think that’s pretty insane.

  14. INFP here. I like the Myers-Briggs personality types myself, but only as a very light framework with which to begin to understanding myself and/or others. People tend to color outside those lines, and it is beautiful to stand back and watch ourselves simply be and do.

  15. What an interesting blog-post, and you’ve gathered a very diverse range of comments as well. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    I can’t remember which type I am supposed to be, but at the time when I first did the Myers-Briggs test I thought it was fairly accurate. However, I’ve found a much more creative use for it since then. I use it to help me create characters each time I start writing a new novel.

    It’s a good way to ensure that the characters in the new book are not written too closely along the lines of the characters in the previous book. Seemingly unrelated questions such as: “Does this character run to answer the phone or hang back hoping that someone else will answer it?” can give a writer some lovely ideas to play with when concocting a new work…

    1. I am currently writing a novel and like you say, this is very true! Myers-Briggs is a great tool for character writing because it not only shows you the benefits of each personality type, but also their flaws. This gives such diverse and interesting characters.

      I am playing with an INFJ character married to an ENTP character and it is interesting to think of how these two personalities WOULD work and how the plot can play out.

  16. I love how you presented it! I got INTP on the test too, and reading all about how they described me and how accurate it seemed at that point of time was exciting. But then I realised I had started viewing myself in a few fixed adjectives, and unconsciously, started moulding myself according to them. I think it was better when I understood myself only in some vague terms, and not as an absent-minded logician who has great spatial reasoning capacities with a creative mind and other specific labels. I still do the tests, because, admit it, sometimes they are fun, but then try to forget about them and go back to not understanding myself again.

  17. It’s an indicator and as have written in my bolg has a margin of error just like any other theory or thought, I am an INTJ and with shades that are not INTJ… It’s ok! 80% accuracy in any test or statistic is a very very good representation of the sample I reckon.

  18. Aaah… I can see why you’re an INTP πŸ˜› Lots of thinking and different perspective in the article πŸ™‚ But yes, on the serious side, we do tend to solidify our personalities according to the result. We’re in a constant state of flux but maybe just our basic traits remain same. On the other hand, it’s fun for just fooling around with the personality quizzes πŸ˜€

  19. When I took the test it was a great revelation to me (INFP). So I’m much more of an introvert than I ever expected. That explained a lot and freed me from wanting to be more like the others. As far as I remember Myers-Briggs is not “blue or green”. It’s percentages, a certain number on a spectrum. But I understand – one can also feel trapped by these labels. In fact, maybe I do feel a little boxed in…

  20. I really like this. I found out my Myers Briggs personality to be ENFP and I was so shocked because it made sense and I could relate to so much of it. It seemed to know me better than I know myself. But how can it really? And I’m not the only ENFP in the world so therefore others will relate to it, so then I felt a little streamed into a pool with others that identify with this type. I started referring to it and relying on it to identify my responses to situations that arose. When really why should we be so defined? I think we are constantly evolving and adapting to new experiences that are thrust upon us creating a fluidity in ourselves. So after being addicted to that ‘definition’ of myself I have now taken a break and it’s been strangely refreshing. Maybe I will have another read sometime but for now I’m still working on my own arrangement of the alphabet.

  21. I come out in the middle of almost every category of every test, including Myers-Briggs, which means not only am I blue-and-white striped, but I’m also checked, diagonal print, polka-dots and plain! I said “bye-bye” to these “typing” systems decades ago for those and other reasons (cultural biases, gender biases, mistakes in scoring, ridiculous assumptions, inadequate choices (most quizzes don’t even offer the choices I would make), etc. They’re fun and useful to a very low point, IMHO, and I have a doctorate in education with enough credits and experience to have another one in psychology as well.

    So there, Myers-Briggs!

    Best to you all!


  22. INTJ here, I like the insight, but don’t like the fences people build in order to box you into a category. We are multi-faceted and should remember this fact.

  23. Awesome post! I think us humans are so needy of cataloging and putting ourselves in boxes that is so confining that we dismiss or deny parts of us that are quirky…or in this case green!

  24. I have been looking into MBTI this week for my latest posting here on WordPress. It is definitely correct that we should not let Myers-Briggs be the end all of understanding ourselves, but I believe that it can be a good tool to get there. I have the INFJ personality type – which apparently is one that has problems with identity. I have always have these problems even as a young child! I think that Myers-Briggs in a way has helped me have more patience with myself and accept myself for who I am. I also have found it beneficial in terms of having career ideas – something that I am having trouble with now that I am graduating without any true career prospects. All in all, Myers-Briggs should just be a tool to HELP you understand yourself, but not limit yourself.

  25. I agree with you whole heartedly about the wave of personality tests on social media essentially doing a disservice to people. Online tests, supposed to be fun, breed self doubt. Or for me, anyway. The labels for our personalities can be helpful but can also be shaming.

  26. Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    Myers Brigs, like other management fads, was just a means to make psychopathy normalized in the workplace and create corporate happyism. It was a very shocking expereince to have an all staff meeting and everyone sorted into these groups – the bullies all at one table the victims at another with the bystanders and the enablers at the others.

  27. I feel the same way about horoscopes and star signs as I do about Myers-Briggs. They have descriptions just “wide enough to fit” so that anyone can apply their personalities to them.

  28. thank you for the different perspective, loved the post. I do however wear shirts which are similar in style and colour and therefore I must be a certain type. I think I’m a ENFP, or something like that.

  29. Nice post, I agree with the sentiment and your example of the shirt is well put. A somewhat intuitive grasp of greater things perhaps.

    I think the trouble you’re experiencing is that you’re viewing things in terms of “types” which inevitably creates a hierarchy. Superior and inferior functions, etc.

    If you just focused on the conceptualizations of the functions (not their classically defined dynamics) there’d be less of an issue.

    I recommend James Graham Johnston’s Jung’s Compass of Psychological Types. Johnston goes into and quotes Carl Jung’s Psychological Types in depth which is in itself an added bonus because it’s his theory to begin with and not the MBTI which went off and did something of their own with their psychometric attempts and notions of “J” & “P”.

  30. Its the reds we have to worry about feeling so demonised. Sure as a green and yellow striped shirted wearing empath i can relate to what this whole personality typing, insights telling myers briggs’ing process tells us but do not let it define you. It can open up some dialogue perhaps, a frame into your brain… but loosely hold those views. You are not a colour and a colour is not you…..

  31. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken MB… Basically, what I remember means is that I shouldn’t be surprised when I forget things like my MB “score.”

    I tend to like strength finders a bit better — it seems to bend more with life situations (eg., focusing on a details-heavy project won’t affect my normal “go with the flow” strengths). The thing that I have found helpful with some of these is understanding my needs better: if I need time alone, knows that about myself will help me at all stages of life, and instead of just trying to find solutions now, will empower me to make appropriate decisions in the future.

    Or, maybe I’m just a baby and haven’t attained self awareness yet πŸ˜‰

  32. I would say, embrace who you are and leverage your MBTI to help you understand yourself & your natural strengths. But know that you can learn to be an expert in the other four dimensions if you want to or if your job (or situation) requires it, so the MBTI shouldn’t fully define who you want to be.

    How MBTI really helped me – growing up as a kid everyone thought I was extroverted. They told me how great I was with people and I’m so incredibly outgoing. But I was always conflicted by these statements because as much as I love hanging out with close friends, I was a cheerleader in high school, etc., I actually was very uncomfortable meeting new people and often just wanted to hide in my own home & in my own room at times. It wasn’t until I took the MBTI at age 24 yrs that I finally understood the conflicting “self identity.” I’m an ISFJ, so I am an introvert who derives my energy from within. I am super uncomfortable in large crowds and could stay inside all day, every day if I wanted. But I’m also a feeler. I need to be in the midst of people to connect and make my decisions based on the reactions of people and the situation. This caused 24 yrs of inner self conflict because I didn’t fully understand this about myself until the MBTI.

    Another cool thing now is my husband is the exact opposite of me, an ENTP. Sure, opposites attract. And it’s been great to leverage all 8 of the dimensions between the 2 of us. I lean on my hubby to run our social calendar (his E of needing to be around ppl all the time to get energy). And when it comes to planning an event, like a vacation or kid’s bday party, he leans on me as my J kicks in to seemlessly organize & plan everything. As a NT he helps frames ideas & thoughts for me and make it rational. As a SF, I make all the details come to life and add a human touch. Super cool way to live and learn with my life partner. πŸ™‚

  33. You are absolutely right! There is no need to accept being shoved into a box (with your arms sticking out, though).:p But when used together with other methods Myers-Briggs can be useful for self-discovery. Actually, this is all these personality tests are good for.

    For example, I came across it only a few years back and what it gave me was an understanding that there is nothing wrong with me: I’m just different. You might say it’s sad that it took a personality test to tell me that, but 27 years of hearing you’ re not talkative enough, you’re not social enough and you’re not assertive enough can leave their mark on you… What I gained from it is a peace of mind and self-acceptance. Not that bad. πŸ™‚ So all in all, there is nothing wrong with Myers-Briggs, as long as we don’t take it too seriously.

  34. Love this I have been on many profiling courses and also a certified disc personality profiler. But have never used them as I hate being in a box and putting people in a box. Good read thank you.

  35. such a great post!!! and accurate!!! we often forget that the myers-briggs concept also notes that depending on the situation you actually revert to the other traits so really….we’re all EVERYTHING! oh darn…no neat box…and as an ENTJ i really like neat boxes πŸ™‚ ENJOY YOUR EVERYTHING!!!

  36. I belong to a closed group on Facebook specifically for my “type”, which is INFJ, the rarest of all. I definitely think I am one, but it’s very limiting to define oneself based on a list of traits. The worst part about our group is its exclusivity – no other types allowed. Makes me roll my eyes!

  37. I really enjoyed reading this post and I totally get where you’re coming from. but for me, a girl who has struggled with ADHD and my personality for most of my life, feeling out of place or like I was doing something wrong because I didn’t “fit in” discovering Meyers- Briggs was a blessing. it was like I finally realized that it was perfectly okay for me to be myself. I don’t need to try to be someone else because I’m good the way I am. I loved reading about my personality type and finding that I wasn’t the only one and that I fit so well into my personality description. it made me begin to celebrate who I am. and to figure out how to navigate life and relationships with my textbook ENFP personality. I definitely think that there is a danger of trying to fit into the description that has been assigned to you if you’re not careful. but in my case it’s been more of an experience in self discovery. for the first time in my life I stopped trying to be something other than what I am. and it gave me peace to know that there are, in fact, other people who understand me and the way that my mind works.
    of course nobody is exactly what Meyers-Briggs describes with no differences whatsoever because we are human and the bottom line is that we are more complex than that, but it’s still been helpful to me personally.

  38. The way I see it, Myers-Briggs and horoscopes have much in common, because it’s entirely realistic that every person who has, does or ever will exist can be placed in one of less than two dozen broad categories.

  39. I enjoyed this post…. While I am still in live with the Myers-Briggs test, I totally understand what you’re saying. In essence, I guess, as with all things in life we need to find the balance in how we use the test. It gives great information about self but it can also limit one if one sees him/herself as ONLY the description given.

  40. Life is all about discovering ourselves on our own because we don’t have a fixed pattern or type or traits. Everybody is born different and cannot be categorized and every person is different in different point of time. I also wrote a similar blog “I was grown-up until i chose wisdom over it!” on my site that you might like to read. But i must say its a very well written post. i could totally relate to it.

  41. So agree with your view on Myers Briggs. It’s a good guideline in my opinion but us human beings are not one thing. We are different and do not fit in a box. Something that I’m learning recently is that there is no goddamn box. we are freeeeeeee! amen to ditching Myers Briggs

  42. This is a great post. So many people get suck in a box they and others put them in. I love you analogy with the shirts. It’s really insightful and gives a visual to something so complex as human character.

  43. I enjoyed your thoughts! Last fall I started working for NYC Outwardbound and discovered I’m an ENFP. So what? Was my initial response. Later I saw some new insight so I changed my thoughts a bit and appreciated a little of it all. Then came the ‘who I am in relationship’ piece from MB standpoint …. and yep I did fit in the box they put me in but I’m clearly not one to actually fit in any box. I like astrology as well and there is another galaxy of insight to fall under. Essentially if something brings me to a more peaceful place inside my heart I’m open to it. I tend to like to glance at a bunch of stuff and keep what seems to be helpful. … At the end of it all I believe if it helps us love ourselves and others then it’s a good thing πŸ™‚

  44. This is really interesting post. I’m a rising sophomore in college right now and I see this same idea manifest in a different way–in Greek life. Greek life is huge at my school and a lot of times people are labeled only by the organization they are in. They are stereotyped into different categories as soon as they mention which fraternity or sorority they are in. This is definitely one negative aspect of Greek life, because college is an important time of self discovery.

  45. Do you know Dan Bern’s song, Jerusalem? “…if you must put me in a box, make sure it’s a big box, With lots of windows, And a door to walk through, and a nice hot chimney, So we can burn, burn, burn everything that we don’t like…”

  46. INTJ and you make some great points. Myers Briggs is helpful until you start to think of yourself as your type instead of your type as a part of you.

  47. Love this post. I too am a Myers-Briggs fan. I have taken it at different points in my life and it has showed different results, people change. However for the past few years I have remained a INFJ an I believe that I will stay for awhile, it fits the best. I however trust that at the end of the day no matter if you are a Luna Love Good, a Jon Snow, or a INFJ it is ultimately your choice and no one should feel restrained. I mean to say, if you are not taking a personality test to better learn how to deal with the traits that cause you friction in life, or feel empowered by the traits that give you joy, then why take a test at all? However I have no interest in labelling limiting myself by, something or someone telling me exactly what I am or what I can or will do. That choice is mine as it is yours. It’s your shirt in my opinion.

  48. Personality typing is just one more chapter in the book of knowledge of human behavior. a fun one for self exploration but is easy to get lost on a tangent that may or may not sustain a basis for application.

    i enjoyed your post πŸ™‚

  49. Myers briggs should not be limiting you. It’s just a work of human’s amazing capacity to identify patterns. The same way our ancestors did for stereotyping star signs. In the end, we are unique because of our the combination of genes and experiences. Good luck with life! -infj, scorpio

  50. Fwiw, I’m an INFJ. It’s deemed rare, but I see plenty floating along the WP blogosphere!

    Great blog. Something to think about. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual person to determine what, how and why s/he identifies the way s/he does.

  51. I actually find my personality type of ISFJ very accurate. However, I agree that we should not feel too confined by the personality traits we are told to have. People change from time to time. We shouldn’t force ourselves to be exactly like the traits shown, and lose ourselves to those words. By doing so, we would lose who we actually are.

  52. After the lovely Myer-Briggs telling me that I’m a very INFJ, I feel the need to stay in the comfort of that personality ‘type’, afraid to feel the world of an extrovert. I don’t really feel the need to identify as any specific “_overt,” I will be what I want to be in that moment. Sense of freedom.

  53. Haha I just found out I’m an infj and have been wrapped around trying to claim this as me until realizing – hey, I’m who I make myself. Good message.

  54. Awesome writing style…totally put me on the part of discovery. Never restrict who you are to just four letters, you’d be surprised to find you were actually all the Chinese alphabets!

  55. Me too, INTP. Validated a lot of my INTPisms. But I hardly give it a second thought while living my life…I have way too many other thoughts to ponder on for hours and hours and hours.. Great post!!!

  56. This is fantastic! I recently had a similar experience myself (was an ESTJ a couple years ago, retook the test during a small existential crisis, now an ENTP). Personality tests are fun, and they can make parts of who you are easily accessible, but should be taken at face value. Great post!

  57. You’re right about our Identity Crisis….and I think Meyers-Briggs wrote one or various Psychology books used by Preble High, or even NWTC…I could be wrong….Hey, I look up to you, because you care to interpret and understand yourself….that’s where we went wrong–Mental Health–we should have just avoided judgementality, and NORMALCY–we should have had long talks with people who are afraid of themselves…uncomfortable…I mean, wasn’t that the whole reason Talk-Therapy was invented? Now, you’ve got all these therpists–who claim they went the extra mile by achieveing that psychological qualification to diagnose….another thing–we forget (as parent’s of these unfortunate kids) that young kids are going to feel misunderstood–and that THERAPY (since their parents for some reason, feel too embarrassed) helps them through this….it’s all ugly…I’m sorry I don’t know how to be positive, light, nor intrigued by it–It’s a disaster that started out as population control (and, in actuality–you might find researching American Eugenics/Sterilization interesting–I’m upset that they have such a limited array of TRUE knowledge–Reality is so damned hard to unfold)….Our culture is still on that path of de-evolution.
    **I hope we keep in touch** πŸ™‚

  58. I did one of those tests once for a get to know yourself exercise at work. Discovered I had gone into completely the wrong profession. Explained part of my work related issues but not the parts I loved about about my job. So I pretty much disregarded the whole exercise and continued to be myself, which I’m pretty happy with.

  59. I totally agree. Yeah we may have certain personality types, but at the end of the day, they’re labels and we are more than that. We are capable of choosing what we are not supposed to be. That’s what being human is about

  60. I took the test at work a few months ago. I already forgot what my results were. I guess I’m a person who doesn’t care enough to remember the details but I do remember I’m in the middle of introvert/extrovert. Maybe that’s the Gemini in me.

  61. Love your post. Myers-Briggs is not meant to place you in a box – your results are placed on a scale or spectrum and are dependent on the situation you are in. For example in one situation you might demonstrate introverted behavior but in another situation you could demonstrate extroverted behaviour. Myers-Briggs is not about boxes and defining behaviour, its about understanding your own or others behaviour in certain situations so you can adapt and better improve based on needs. When i learnt about Myers-Briggs I completed a two and a half day course which included role plays to understand why and how these particular behavioural traits presented themselves. Its so much more than an online test which really doesn’t explain the intricacies, complexities or application of the results.
    I honestly love Myers-Briggs, it changed the way I thought of myself and I was able to apply it to so many situations in the workplace that helped me improve both my work and my interactions with other people.

  62. Haha I love your comparison of Myers-Briggs to figuring out what color t-shirt someone is wearing. I gave up on that test long ago when every single time I took one of those tests I got a different personality type. Personalities are too complex to be labeled with 4 simple letters!

  63. My tests revealed that I don’t receive feedback well, but I don’t think that’s true and it hurt my feelings. (Emoticon: frown face). Great post.

  64. This is amazing. I’m intp too and I found out really early and I think instead of it helping me discover myself it inhibited me because I felt I’d already figured out who I was supposed to be. I really relate to this

  65. Great post! Congrats on being freshly pressed too!
    I took the MB test multiple multiple times till I found out I was an ENTJ-A and it made sense. I love your point that even though it tells you who you are, people should be aware that they can change and the outcome of a test at one point in their lives doesn’t dictate the outcome of their lives.
    People have a choice and it’s this gift that allows us to choose that makes is different and unique!
    I took mine specifically to find what my strengths are, not to dictate the outcome of my life or to put myself in a box. The human person is one that is dynamic and changing!

  66. Myers-Briggs tests was administered to teachers and administrators in my school long time ago. Those four letters then sure seemed to me a way of looking at who I was at 30 . Fast forward to your blog, it reminded me well of the degree of who I was and how I have become. For me the test hit the nail on the head of my strengths and weaknesses as applied to my role as a teacher to my students. Thanks for the memory of those questions. One of the best psychological tests without having to speak to anyone. πŸ™‚

  67. I was just gossiping (shh!) about a friend whose reliance on the MB types feels really limiting/limited–for instance, I asked him if he and his wife felt a letdown in the weeks after their wedding, and his answer was, “no, we’re both strong rationals.” Like that’s enough! I always get “thinking” over “feeling” on those kinds of things, too, but that doesn’t mean I don’t HAVE FEELINGS! I just gave up talking to him about it, but it colors my perception of personality type tests entirely; how could a square with sixteen boxes possibly account for all the people around us?

  68. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with theses sentiments for a while, and you did an excellent job! Speaking as a proud ENFP who started out as an ENFJ, I really agree with what you said about not letting your personality type box you in.
    After all people change, and their results change along with them.

  69. I agree with you completely. As per the test I qualify as an INFP, but that doesn’t mean I like being cast into a slot of any kind. Free flow is the way to go! Everyone is a little mosaic of little bits of coloured glass that form the very filters through which we see! πŸ™‚

  70. That’s why I like and train True Colors. It allows me to understand myself and others using a spectrum methodology. The shirt really is blue and green with this research. My professional blog has some info about it at Just sharing for info. I don’t travel as a trainer, so I’m not trying to self-promote. :D. Great article!

  71. This is so well articulated, nice work! πŸ™‚ It’s something I’ve thought about before. While there’s some comfort in being able to define yourself with these personality boxes, we shouldn’t let it define us. I’ve done the test a few times and have actually had two different results. I guess it depends whether my blue or green stripes were more dominant in that moment!!

  72. I can understand the concerns posted here and I would invite you to read what is considered to be the most definitive text on the MBTI (that was based on Carl Jung’s groundbreaking work in the area of temperament types) Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual, by Lenore Thomson. I hope you will find the first chapter, “The Door Is Not The Door,” answers the questions you have and clear up much of the confusion. It was never meant to be interpreted as a box to stuff you into but rather a tool for insight and personal growth and self-development. It might also help to know that that it is not uncommon for people to mistype themselves, but by understanding the characteristics listed for each of the four components of type one can find their true type. The has been a time-tested, “scientifically valid instrument” and for that and the above reasons I hope you will give it another chance. P.S. The terms “personality” and “type” in themselves may tend to turn people off.

    Best wishes to all of you on your courageous and unique journeys of self-discovery!

  73. Interesting read- considering the plethora of quizzes out there, we do want to know ourselves. More than knowing ourselves, I think we want to do know what we should do with ourselves. In another vein, while of course we are more than a test, the way I understand it, the Meyers-Briggs four letters could be compared to four colors. The test is not saying you are blue or green, it is saying you are blue and green and orange and yellow and each of these colors can be in various shades. But no matter what test we take, as you said, we are all on our paths to figuring out what works for us, who we are on our own terms, and if something feels like its boxing you in, good idea to let it go :). Great post!

  74. Very interesting post! Like the idea of leaving the social suitcase behind and seeing who you are without it. Very powerful!

  75. My dependence on personality quizzes started with J14 magazine and a constant need for assurance that I was a good friend, that I was a good secret keeper, that I was good in school, that I was a good enough ____ fill in the blank. For a while I was constantly checking my horoscope. Being a Leo meant I was might and proud, but also humble and tame in the arms of my loved ones. It was the perfect mix of everything I wanted to be. Problems arose when I moved out on my own, got married, and had to start adulting. Why was no one treating me like the gentle, yet powerful, queen I was? Because I wasn’t that. I hadn’t become that. In fact, I wasn’t really anything.

    I avoid personality tests and horoscopes so I can learn who I am and who I want to be.

    Congrats and good luck on checking your bags and not keeping the ticket.

  76. I’m an ENFJ and recently a bunch of my friends and i found a site with a modern version/more friendlier version of Meyer’s Briggs. It’s odd how we try to categorize everyone but in truth we are all so different. Human are made as individuals, not to be put into categories. And i think it’s human nature to try and categorize people. Idk it’s weird because all of my friends were excited when they discovered their four letter definition after taking the test. But in my mind all I thought was “you’re an individual, what is a test got to do with what you’re defined as?” Sure it’s a good insight, but it’s all a little cloudy.

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